Peter Simek sees DART as a regional necessity but wonders about its utility as an inter-urban system. He then raises an interesting point:
…if Dallas really wants to build a walkable urban vision, if it wants to create an intersecting web of multi-use districts, if it wants a more vibrant street life, if it wants its touted future urban spaces — the Woodall Rogers Park and the Trinity River Project among them — to function according to their planned visions, eliminating the need for all of our city’s offerings to be surrounded by sprawling parking lots or expensive underground parking garages, then an alternative to DART must be on the table. Luckily, there is a model.
The model is the streetcar system, whose tracks still lie under the asphalt, that was built in 1927. I vaguely remember streetcars still running in the 1950s. They were replaced by a new! modern! airconditioned! gasoline-powered! thing call the bus.
Simek is on to something.Â Â Of course, the city was much, much smaller then, so the grid would only serve the inner core. Still, it might provide, as Simek says, the connectivity that the inner core needs. (Forget the budget deficit for now. We’re talking 5-10 years from now.)